Another issue that affects the peace and tranquility of communities and reaches into many homes nationwide is the re-entry of ex-offenders. Nationally, over 600,000 individuals are returned to communities annually. At least 5,000 prisoners return to the Indianapolis community each year. The issue of re-entry, however, poses numerous challenges for families and communities alike.
In order for ex-offenders to transition successfully into their home communities, society must find ways to address and remove those obstacles that hinder those individuals from becoming law-abiding citizens. Workforce Inc., a transitional jobs program located on Indianapolis’ eastside, is one such example for successful re-entry program. WFI has partnered with the City of Indianapolis to provide ex-offenders with employment in an electronics recycling program, an initiative that is soon to be replicated elsewhere in the nation. To facilitate a successful transition, Workforce also provides assorted support services, including substance abuse counseling, job coaching, education assessments, and job referrals after their six-month transitional employment has concluded. Sagamore is involved in this innovative program by assessing the overall success of the initiative. In so doing, Sagamore hopes to demonstrate that public policies that reward responsibility are cost effective, promote parental responsibilities, and ultimately contribute to stronger families and more stable and productive communities.
The following study, by Sagamore Associate Fellow Rhonda Shipley, analyzes 90 ex-offenders who were employed by WFI. The study suggests that employment in "service rich environments" positively impacts relationships with family, management of child support obligations, adherence to stipulations of release, and recidivism.
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